Soundtrack Saturday: “Making Mr. Right”

Written by Film, Soundtrack Saturday

Happy Valentine’s Day! I kind of don’t really mean that since I think this is a stupid commercial holiday. Am I a bitter, single girl? No, not at all. I thought about not even acknowledging it and posting the soundtrack to some horror movie, but then I decided that Making Mr. Right (1987) would make for an amusing Valentine’s Day edition of Soundtrack Saturday.

In her follow-up to 1985’s Desperately Seeking Susan, director Susan Seidelman brings us the tale of Frankie Stone (Ann Magnuson), a Miami PR executive who, after breaking up with her congressman boyfriend (Ben Masters) and dropping him as a client, takes a job helping Chemtech, a technology company, promote their latest, greatest creation: an android astronaut named Ulysses (John Malkovich). The bigwigs at Chemtech give her 35 days to “humanize” the android and sell the idea of him to the public — and to the government so they can secure support for the project.

As Frankie begins working with her new client, she finds herself up against a few personal and professional obstacles, including Ulysses’s creator, Dr. Jeff Peters (also John Malkovich), who’s against the idea of making Ulysses into a loveable media phenomenon; her friend Trish (Glenne Headley), who shows up at Frankie’s door after being dumped by her soap-star husband for his costar; her congressman ex-boyfriend, who keeps trying to win her back; and her mother, who’s pressuring her to bring a great date to her sister’s wedding. On top of all that, Frankie has to deal with the fact that Ulysses is starting to become more human every day, even falling in love with her, and against her better judgment, she with him.

I used to watch Making Mr. Right all the time when I was a kid. Back then it was the only John Malkovich movie I knew. After seeing more of his body of work, much of it more serious in nature, I can’t help but wonder why he wanted to do it. Don’t get me wrong — I’m glad he did, because I love the quirkiness he brings to both Ulysses and Dr. Peters. Reviews I’ve read have brought up the thematic similarities between Making Mr. Right and Desperately Seeking Susan, like their focus on mistaken identity and finding happiness with the right person instead of the safest person. I have to agree. But it’s still a fun film with a great cast and amazing late-’80s wardrobes (Frankie’s clothes could be their own character) that’s worth viewing if you just want some mindless Reagan-era fun.

The soundtrack is comprised of a score by Chaz Jankel as well as a few pop songs. As far as I can tell, the only way you can get the score is on a dual release that also contains the score for Desperately Seeking Susan; the pop songs aren’t included. So, ladies, if you’re thinking about romancing a robot this Valentine’s Day, now you’ve got some tunes to help you seal the deal.

Gwen Guthrie – Too Many Fish in the Sea
The Turtles – Happy Together
The Drifters – This Magic Moment
Aretha Franklin – Rock Steady
El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico – Por Mas Que Quiera
Chaz Jankel – Chemtech Promo Video
Chaz Jankel – Ulysses’ Escape
Chaz Jankel – Night Visit
Chaz Jankel – Frankie’s Drive
Chaz Jankel – Ulysses
Chaz Jankel – In the Lab
Chaz Jankel – Sondra and Jeff
Chaz Jankel – Mr. Right
Chaz Jankel – Wedding Reception
Chaz Jankel – Parting Glance